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I can't sleep - awake and so anxious about Christmas :-((32 Posts)
Just that really. I earn an alright wage, I try and budget every month but it just never seems to work. I'm crap with money and can never manage to save anything, I'm always at my overdraft limit by the end of each month. I try and write things down, keep track weekly - but I can't ever seem to keep a grip on it. I have a credit card but it's at its limit and I was refused another one (failed a credit check when moving house due to electoral roll registration) - so that's not an option, and the minimum payment is £52. I wish I could switch to a new card but I'm worried to apply after being refused once already! I am so bloody stressed about how I'm going to afford christmas. I've got a couple of bits, but nothing really yet - and certainly not a present for my DH who definitely deserves something nice. I'm going to start saving in January for next year...but that doesn't help me now. Why can't I get my head around budgeting?! I'm so stressed. I know people have much bigger problems, but I literally can't sleep and I'm just lying here working myself right up about it.
Talk to your DH and lower everyone's expectations about Xmas. It's only a day and not worth your worrying for months beforehand. Do you worry about other things too, in general?
Sorry, OP. I've only just seen it's in Credit Crunch. I don't have any specific advice. I'm not great with money.
When you say you re crap with money do you mean you overspend? On necessities or luxuries?
Are you able to put some money aside in November?
Are you with the cheapest gas and electricity suppliers?
That may sort you out so you can have a fairly low key but enjoyable.
Have you been on Moneysavingexpert to get ideas on how to budget and minimise costs?
Perhaps you shouldn't have booked that holiday in NYC just before Christmas then? (Revealed by a quick advanced search on your name/previous posts)
If you don't have the money, why did you do that - especially just before Christmas? Surely your DH doesn't need a present if you're treating yourselves to that trip.
Try not to worry. I am sure your DH would hate the thought of you worrying how you will treat him. Christmas absolutely shouldn't be about getting into debt, although there is a lot of pressure for us to resist!
I always worry more if I am not in control of something. Is there a way you can get more in control of your money? Do you have a monthly budget?
I tried "you need a budget"for a month or so , (free trial). It really helped me to understand how much I spent on everything. And to put in proper repayments for credit cards as part of that budget.
Also, could you have a look at your credit rating on credit expert? There is a free trial on there if you haven't done it before. It will enable you to see if there are any problems which would stop you getting a credit card.
It also recommends credit cards where you can get a 0% deal, and fit which your credit rating would be suitable.
I second Lady
Could you buy for DP, DC and do Secret Santa with everyone else? We started this last year and, honestly, everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief!
There are apps to help you budget (I don't know any, I'm afraid, hopefully someone will be along who knows/uses one), camelcamelcamel to help you track price changes on Amazon etc.
And have a look in the Christmas topic to find the bargain thread - on thread 11 now, I think.
Budgeting and saving is not easy if it isn't something you have done before, and is daunting. There is anothe thread/threads somewhere with posters helping and supporting each other coming out of debt and trying to.get to grips with budgeting.
I hope that helps.
You aren't alone
It's just one day. Do it differently. Arrange some fun things to do during the day - decorate biscuits in red and green icing (use food coloring) and toppings in the morning. Watch a film with them as snacks, make crackers for your evening meal . Etc etx - play a board game with the winner getting a selection box. If you do things differently it will take the focus off material things.
Set a weekly budget for groceries, take it out in cash and that's it. Have some tins of beans in the cupboard in case you genuinely run out. Research lower budget recipes. You'll soon learn to stick to the budget! This has really helped me cut out wasteful spending. We used to spend nearly £200 a week. Now it is £80, with no obvious change in eating!
When it comes to Christmas food, remember it is one meal. You don't need endless trimmings.
When DP and I were skint, him unemployed when I was on mat leave, we did a very cheap Christmas. We didn't do presents for each other. Let's face it, adults don't need Christmas presents, and will probably get stuff from relatives anyway. One friend did a secret Santa thing in her family where everyone had to get just one adult present. Worked really well and lots of people happy to not have loads of Christmas shopping. How many slippers and pyjama sets are needed in any one family?
People at my work also do a present swap just before Christmas, where we swap around unwanted but regiftable items. It is a game but I got a lovely present for my Dad this way!
If you find it hard to shift into a new mindset around Christ,as etc this is going to be the hardest thing. You need to be firm with yourself. You can do things differently when you can afford it. Right now you can't.
I agree.. use the holiday as your gift to each other and thank your lucky stars you can't get any more credit atm. Gives you time to sort yourself out.
Have you talked to your bloke? He might be able to help.
We have done secret Santa for the last 7 years. It has been fab. £20 limit means lots of imaginative gifts. We keep it secret and all have to guess who our present is from.
BiWitched - thanks for the lovely response when I'm so clearly anxious. Yes we're going to NYC, yes we booked it as such - but we didn't pay for it, it was money given as a gift specifically to book a holiday because this year has been tough. Having spending money etc for when we're there is another source of my current stress. So please, don't judge without knowing the facts.
Everyone else - thank you. It's actually helpful to just write things down and I fell back asleep after my initial post! Some good ideas and tips here - I like the swapping at work idea, we usually do secret Santa so will suggest that today instead.
I do overspend, mainly on food/toiletries. I try and stick to a meal plan and a budget, but easily spend another £50 a week in Sainsburys on top ups I guess.
Am going to check my credit score on one of those free things. Thanks for being lovely you lot, I'll check out the Christmas bargain thread!
£52 min payment on cc must be about £5-6k right? You really don't need another cc. You need debt advice.
Do children's presents only this Christmas. People will understand.
You'll have to count the pennies in NY. Set yourself a daily budget and stick to it. No fancy meals and definitely no shopping. There's lots of sightseeing that can be done for free.
Dp and I haven't done bday or xmas presents for about 6yrs now, and its fine, don't miss it one bit. I tend to get him a bar of chocolate (£1) and a shower gel (£1) for the kids to wrap and pass over, he does the same. It's only one day.
No, my cc is at £2200, or just below. It was 0% interest for 18 months, min payment was £25 then - then it reached the end of the 0% period and that's the new minimum payment! I was surprised when I saw it last month.
Get some cheap meal ideas for this month, do a plan and stick to it. Use all the food you have in your freezer and cupboards. It may free up some money for your trip.
Do you have a Savers near you? They are quite cheap for toiletries.
A special present for your DP doesn't have to mean an expensive present - how about a book you know he loves, a book of vouchers for massage, dinner cooked etc or a little hamper filled with things like his favourite beer, a bag of peanuts, some nice undies etc? My DH & I have often given each other things like this & loved them. Or another thing DH did for me was to blow up a copy of a really nice photo of our little family & then put it into a nice frame he got for £10. That same year I got him a ticket to the football on Boxing Day as we couldn't afford for him to go normally, that was all within our £20 each limit & he was thrilled.
If you have DC, look in charity shops, car boot sales & FB sales pages for their presents. I have got most of my DCs from these places so far & paid eg £10 for things that would be £50 new, my 2 younger DSes won't know they're not new, they older DS will know but not care as he will still have a new-to-him toy to play with!
Blueberry, do you have kids? If you have kids, then your main concern would be to provide for them at Christmas. It would be horrible for them if Santa didn't bring them any presents. Adults don't have the same expectations. If your DH knows that money is tight then he's hardly expecting an extravagant present. When DH and I were younger and carefree (no mortgage or kids) we bought each other lots of presents - some of them were quite expensive. Now that we have a mortgage to pay and a child, we've cut back so much over the years. We just buy each other something tiny and concentrate on giving DD a lovely Christmas. We do kriskindle with my family so that means just one present to buy each and we're having a family day out with DH's family instead of exchanging presents.
When are you off to NY? Do you have much time to save for spending money? If it was me, I wouldn't bother exchanging presents at all with DH for Christmas and I would just concentrate on getting some spending money for holiday. Also, do a bit of research online and see if you can find free or cheap things to do and see in NY.
Tayto, no we don't have children - but we do have a myriad of small God children/nieces and nephews to buy for. Tomorrow is payday so I'm going to download a budget software thing and really give it a go this month. Spending this evening meal planning so that hopefully I can get the food shop down this fortnight as well.
We're going to NY shortly after Xmas, so not a great deal of time to save. I am very much on the case of free things to do/see!
Thanks for all the help and tips - it's lovely to feel like I'm not on my own.
or you could just both be adult and forget presents for each other. The small children can have a couple of bits from poundland each, buy a big roll of wrapping paper and put in the effort to making it look pretty.
and kids not having presents in a world where a billion don't have access to a toilet seems to me a small injustice.
Online shopping for groceries can work really well- for budgeting - you can see how much you are spending, and chuck things out that you don't need before check out. That stops going round the aisles wanting to buy things at eye level.
Do you have any old stuff you could ebay for spending money?
I agree don't exchange presents with DH this year - the holiday is enough to look forward to!
The children in your family might love a packet of sweets or selection box just as much as a new toy. Or you could get a set of books from the book people and divide it.
Sorry you have had a tough year.
But you really need to get a grip about Christmas. Adults don't need expensive presents at Christmas, particularly when there is no money for them.
Would your DH really want a gift at the cost of the amount of stress you are clearly under? Because, if the answer isn't "of course not", then he really doesn't deserve anything anyway.
I hope you use the advice here to get a grip on your finances. It sounds like it's achievable.
Nieces/nephews/godchildren will almost certainly have plenty of lovely gifts from their parents/grandparents. Your also-ran presents aren't worth getting in debt over. Perhaps just explain to their parents that you are cutting back this year, and won't be able to do gifts. Unless they are incredibly shallow, they won't have a problem.
Failing that, Tiger has lots of fun things for not too much.
Have a look on the xmas thread for bargains if you must buy gifts for the kids. How about a boxed set of books from the book people split between them & choc coins?